As ubiquitous as they are on American courses today, golf carts are a relatively new addition to the game. Moreover, from the time of their invention in 1932 until well into the 1950s, only golfers whose physical conditions hampered their ability to walk courses used carts.
While it’s true that technological advancements such as the GPS-equipped cart and the golf launch monitor do offer benefits, there are some rather compelling reasons why you should walk your next round of golf.
Playing the average 18-hole course can mean covering anywhere from four to eight miles. This, when combined with the elevation changes and other terrain variances you’re likely to encounter, makes for a nice benefit to your cardiovascular system. Walking also burns far more calories than riding. This can contribute to weight loss if you play a couple of times a week or more. Burning excess fat can help mitigate the potential for heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, and extend your longevity.
Buying a golf cart is not an inexpensive proposition. Renting one adds cost to every round you play. Meanwhile, other than the greens fees, there is no cost to walking the course. The costs go beyond monetary, however. Think of the damage heavily laden golf carts do to court surfaces — particularly immediately after wet weather, or when the grasses have been watered.
Waling a course helps you get better at estimating distances. You can get a clearer picture of the terrain, gauge hazards more effectively, and get a better sense of your lie. You play more steadily, which helps keep your head in the game. Further, because your pace is slowed, you have time to clear your head if your last shot was less than you wanted it to be and reset for the next shot.
Moreover, as counterintuitive as it might sound, walking the course actually speeds up play. When two golfers share a cart, they go to the closest ball first. The other player then waits for their partner to take their shot. They then go to the second ball and repeat the process. Walking, each player goes directly to their ball, and is ready to shoot when they arrive.
It’s More Relaxing
Course architects and greens keepers do everything within their capabilities to provide a challenging, yet serene environment in which to play the game. Using a cart on a course is like gulping down a fine wine without savoring the nuances of its flavors. You go from hole to hole, never fully appreciating the beauty of the environment. Walking the course gives you time to drink in all of the beauty the architect provided and the work the greens keepers put in to enhance your enjoyment of the game.
You’ll Play Better
Walking helps you stay loose, which improves your flexibility, which in turns gives you more control when you strike the ball. Every time you hop back onto the cart to ride to your next shot, you’re allowing your muscles to tense up again. As we mentioned above, walking also gives you time to commit the last shot to the past. What’s more, talking with your partners as you walk from shot to shot also helps you relax, even as you reap all the other benefits above.
Don’t take our word for it though; try it for yourself on your next round. We’re confident that doing so will help you understand why you should walk you next round of golf— and each one you play afterwards.